Midwest Cannabis: How Minnesota is Influencing its Neighbors
The Ripple Effect: Minnesota’s Cannabis Legalization and Its Impact on Neighboring States
Minnesota’s recent leap into cannabis legalization has set off a chain reaction, leaving neighboring states to grapple with the implications and consider their own course for cannabis legalization and licensing. As a cannabis consulting company that has studied emerging markets for the last 12 years, we can’t help but wonder how nearby states like Wisconsin, the Dakotas, and even Michigan—each facing their unique challenges and opportunities—will react once Minnesota’s retail cannabis sales begin in Q1 of 2025.
Wisconsin: A State Caught in the Crosshairs
Wisconsin, feeling the pressure from its cannabis-friendly neighbor, has responded with a proposal that has raised eyebrows. The state seems to be veering towards a state-run program, a move that many consider ill-advised. The nationwide trend favors a competitive market over an inherently flawed state-run system. Keeping the cannabis program rollout simple, accessible, and aligned with the existing market may be the key to success. A flourishing, competitive market is the future, and Wisconsin needs to align its strategy accordingly to stay relevant.
Dakotas: A Familiar Dance with Cannabis Legalization
In the Dakotas, the story takes a familiar turn. South Dakota, having experienced a failed attempt at legalization in the past, is once again navigating the complexities of cannabis legislation. The specter of déjà vu looms large as they push for legalization, having had their previous efforts quashed by the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, North Dakota remains a wildcard—with a modest medical program and a failed adult-use referendum in 2022, the state seems to be spectating now, with no clear stance on cannabis legalization.
Iowa: On the Verge of Cannabis Change
Iowa, often overlooked in the cannabis conversation, has made significant strides. In February 2023, House Democrats introduced Senate Bill SF73, proposing the legalization of regulated sale and possession of cannabis for adults. The bill, if passed, would allow individuals to possess up to 30 grams of marijuana flower, 5 grams of concentrate, and 500mg of THC in infused products. Iowa seems to be recognizing the changing tide and considering cannabis legislation, even if not the most progressive approach.
Michigan to Minnesota: A Silver Lining for Cannabis Operators
For Michigan, Minnesota’s move offers a fantastic opportunity for operators to expand their horizons. The similarities in market trends and consumer profiles create a ripe environment for Michigan operators to recoup some losses in their local market. This cross-state collaboration could lead to a mutually beneficial exchange of expertise and resources, fostering a stronger cannabis industry in both states.
Minnesota is Leaving Its Mark and Serving as a Model
Minnesota’s cannabis legalization is undoubtedly sending ripples across its neighboring states, forcing them to reassess their own stance on cannabis legalization. Whether states choose to finally legalize or double down on their existing medical programs, it’s clear that the cannabis landscape in the Midwest is undergoing a seismic shift. Minnesota is shaking things up further with new license types like the “Mezzobusiness” and regulation of low-THC products at bars and breweries under the same umbrella as adult-use, all while currently working to close a hemp enforcement gap. Minnesota’s measured and all-encompassing approach to legalization may well serve as a model for its naysaying neighbors.
You Need Professional Help
Entering the cannabis industry is not to be taken lightly. To navigate this complex terrain, businesses should consider seeking guidance from various professionals, such as local attorneys, accountants, security teams, and licensing experts like Canna Advisors. These folks can help navigate the intricacies of business planning and financial modeling, building a compliant business from the start, and maximizing your effectiveness in the evolving Minnesota cannabis market.
Contact our consultants to get more information on your states cannabis opportunities and how you can prepare to open your cannabis business.